Skip to main content

Cheetah Cubs Born in Boma , Do They Have Conservation Value ?

When Aasha gave birth to three cubs in one of the enclosures  of  Kuno national park - there was good news and bad news. The good news is that this is the second litter of cheetah on Indian soil after Siyaya, another Namibia cheetah, gave birth to four cubs in March 2023 and that the animal seems to have acclimatized further in India conditions. Birth in captivity will also enhance their chances of survival. The three newborns  from Aasha have also increased the number of cheetahs in India.  The bad news is that like Siyaya's cubs, they too are born within the confines of a boma and would not get the environmental conditions required to survive in the wild. They would also be reared up by Aasha in the enclosure -safe from predators like leopards. But what does this mean? Kuno Awaits Cheetah Birth in Open Forest Cheetahs were translocated to India with a purpose. The Cheetah action plan envisages saving, conserving and developing India's grasslands .The reason for choosing cheet

Cheetah Cubs Born in Boma , Do They Have Conservation Value ?


Cheetah Cubs born in Kuno

When Aasha gave birth to three cubs in one of the enclosures  of  Kuno national park- there was good news and bad news. The good news is that this is the second litter of cheetah on Indian soil after Siyaya, another Namibia cheetah, gave birth to four cubs in March 2023 and that the animal seems to have acclimatized further in India conditions. Birth in captivity will also enhance their chances of survival. The three newborns  from Aasha have also increased the number of cheetahs in India.  The bad news is that like Siyaya's cubs, they too are born within the confines of a boma and would not get the environmental conditions required to survive in the wild. They would also be reared up by Aasha in the enclosure -safe from predators like leopards. But what does this mean?

Kuno Awaits Cheetah Birth in Open Forest

Cheetah Cubs  with mother

Cheetahs were translocated to India with a purpose. The Cheetah action plan envisages saving, conserving and developing India's grasslands .The reason for choosing cheetah was the conservation benefits. The spotted cat  is a grassland-based species and the grasslands have reduced drastically in India, cheetah proponents claimed . Population of the grassland based fauna including the Indian wolf, the caracal and three endangered species of the bustard family- the Houbara, the lesser Florican, and the most endangered of all the Great Indian Bustard- has declined. In saving the cheetah , the action plan claims , other endangered  species  would also be saved .These arguments were also heard in the Supreme Court while  the government pleaded for cheetah relocation to India.

Also readFor the First Time the Official Tale of Kuno Cheetahs 

 Though it is a long term plan, it would materialize only when the cheetahs become free ranging, meaning they should be free to move anywhere in the jungle without any restrictions. But if cheetahs continue to be born , brought up and remain in enclosures they would hardly have any conservation value. The one survived from Siyaya's litter and the three new born are likely to remain  in  enclosures  all their life. They may be good for the cheetah safari planned in but not  beneficial for conservation of grass land, a senior official said.  So far no cheetah is born in the open forest in Kuno . “To achieve this, we need to let them roam in Kuno's open forest, settle down ,mate and breed", said a senior official of the Union ministry of environment, forest and climate change (MoEFC&C). 

Kuno Cheetahs: More In Captivity  Less in Jungle  

cheetah  in Kuno

After yet another spell of long captivity of almost five months four cheetahs were  re-released in Kuno, first the coalition of two cheetahs named Agni and Vayu on December 17 followed by  a female and a male cheetah on December 20 . Fourteen adult cheetahs- 7 males and the same number of females and the surviving cub from Siyaya- were in captivity in Kuno after the death of 3 cheetahs in the hot and humid  weather conditions of Kuno  in the months of  July and August. They died of septicaemia. After the re- release of the four mentioned above, 10 cats are still inside in  captivity .The cheetahs have been in India for almost 16 months out of which 10 months they were in captivity. There were several occasions when some of them had moved beyond the boundaries of Kuno .They were tranquilized and brought back to enclosure. This is happening because Kuno is too small a park for cheetahs (unlike the fenced African parks with an area upto 20,000 sq km or even more). On September 17, 2022, 8 cheetahs were brought from Namibia followed by 12 more from South Africa in March 2023. Six adults and three cubs have died so far for different reasons. Now Agni, one of the cheetahs re -released on December 17 had strayed away from Kuno and may be tranquilized again. Many experts have also disapproved  this”repeated" human intervention of capturing cheetahs. This is hampering cheetahs' natural movement, they claimed. 

Also readBringing African Cheetahs to India a Wrong Decision ? 

Sources said that the  steering committee monitoring the re-introduction of cheetahs in Kuno national park said that the cats  would not be re-released “unless the prey populations are at an appropriate level”.  “The cheetahs will not be released from the larger enclosure into the wild unless the prey populations are at an appropriate level of 35 animals per square km and ideally to 50 per sq km,” the 11-member committee headed by Rajesh Gopal noted after its meeting on 27 October. This was reported by The Print, prestigious news portal. The Wildlife Institute of India (WII) was also asked to carry out a fresh assessment of the prey density. Perhaps,  a decision on  the release of the remaining 10 cheetahs  in enclosures will be taken after the prey- predator  ratio improves in Kuno. 

By Deshdeep Saxena

Banner Image Courtesy Kuno National Park , Cheetah with Cubs from Cheetah Conservation Fund. Cheetah in Boma rom Kuno National Park 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Fertility Stories Immortalise Collarwali Tigress of Pench Tiger Reserve

  She was a superstar of Pench tiger reserve . The tigress that livedmore than 16 years and delivered a record number of 29  cubs in8 litters died on January 15 evening. Collarwali, as she was fondly referred toafter a radio collar was put around her neck in 2008, was darling of wildlifetourists who would visit the tiger reserve. They would remember the tigress forher ‘catwalks’ on the pathways of the national park giving them ample opportunitiesto click pictures. She would make easy wildlife photography. Collarwali was immortalizedafter scores of national and international documentaries were made on her. The Departmentof Post in India issued a special cover envelope of Collarwali  on World Sparrow Day in 2015 Besides, NewZealand and Canada too issued personalized stamps on the tigress in the sameyear. The park director said she died because of old age complicationsin her intestine.  Apall of gloom descended over Pench while her funeral was performed on January 16. RIP Collarwali Offic

Tiger Corridor : Now Satpuda Melghat National Parks Connectivity At Risk

Much- hyped wildlife friendly NH7 passing   through the famous Kanha -Pench forest corridor and named after the two famous national parks should have 11.81 kms long under passes to let the wildlife have a safe passage. Instead the National Highways Authority of India (NHA) overlooked the rules and constructed only 4.41 km long underpasses compromising their dimensions.  Similarly in NH6, only 2.95 km of mitigation work was done against a schedule 8 kms length. Not everybody knows this truth.  Now NHAI seems to be completely violating the Wildlife (Protection) act 1973 while constructing a road patch on NH46 ( Hoshangabad -Betul). This is a functional tiger corridor connecting Melghat and Satpura tiger reserves. Now the connectivity is also as threatened as the tiger itself.  No Lessons Learnt From NH6 Kanha- Pench Corridor The reduced length of structures in  MH6  and NH7  -connecting East with the West and  North with the South  respectively -for safety of the wildlife could be achiev